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Rajaraja Chola Biography

Raja Raja Chola I Biography

The man, who laid the foundation of the Chola Kingdom into a mighty Empire, is none other than Rajaraja the Great (reign 985-1014 C.E.). A patron of arts and religion, he was also an organizational and political genius.

When Rajaraja became the king, he conquered the kingdoms of southern India and Sri Lanka in the extreme south, and Kalinga (Orissa) in the northeast. He fought many battles with the Chalukyas in the north and the Pandyas in the south. He also subdued the traditional Chera rivalries in the southwest. It took less than a decade for him to become the master of southern India.

He divided his country into various districts and standardized the revenue collection by carrying out systematic land surveys. In this way he smoothly maintained the administrative system. He also allowed autonomy to the local units.

One of his greatest deeds is the building of the magnificent Rajarajeshwar Temple at Tanjore. The stone sculpture on the mighty tower (216 feet) and the base is one of the finest examples of Chola art.

Rajaraja was succeeded by his son, Rajendra Chola who followed the footprints of his father and glorified the Chola Empire even more.

Some essential details about Rajaraja:
Reign: 985 C.E. – 1014 C.E.
Title: Rajakesari
Capital: Thanjavur
Queens: Lokamahadevi
Children: Rajendra Chola I
Predecessor: Uttama Chola
Successor: Rajendra Chola I
Father: Sundara Chola
Death: 1014 C.E.

Facts and Information about Raja Raja Chola I


Birth Name Arulmozhivarman
Also known as Rajaraja Sivapada Sekhara, Telungana Kula Kala, Ponniyin Selvan (son of River Kaveri)
Regin 985-1014 CE
Ethnicity Tamil
Titles Parakesari, Rajakesari, Mummudi Cholan
Born 947 CE
Died 1014 in the Tamil month of Maka
Predeccessor Uttama Chola
Successor Rajendra Chola I
Wife Vaanathi (princess of Kodumbaalur)
Consorts Lokamahadevi







Dynasty Chola Dynasty
Father Sundara Chola
Mother Vaanavan Maadevi
Brother Aditya II
Sister Alvar Sri Parantakan Sri Kundavai Pirattiyar
Daughter Rajaraja Kundavai Alvar, Mathevalzagal
Religious Beliefs Hinduism, Shaivism
Southern Wars The southern kingdoms of Cheras, the Sinhalas and Pandyas joined hands to fight the Cholas.
Kandalur Salai In 994 CE Rajaraja successfully campaigned in Kerala.
Malai Nadu Rajaraja defeated the Cheras in a battle, capturing Udagai.
Sri Lanka Conquest In 993 CE Sri Lanka was invaded by Rajaraja.
Northern Wars Expanding his territory in the north and northwest, Rajaraja captured Nolambapadi, Gangapadi and Tadigaipadi.
Ganga Wars The Ganga country was invded by Rajaraja in the absence of Rashtrakutas in 973 CE.
War against Vengi During a war against Vengi, a ruler named Bheema was killed by Rajaraja.
Kalinga conquest Rajendra Chola, his son, defeated the Andhra king Bhima and invaded the kingdom of Kalinga.
Naval Conquests Rajaraja is known for the naval conquest of the ‘old islands’ (most likely the present-day Maldives), which were 12,000 in number.
Thanjavur Temple Constructed during Rajaraja’s reign, the Peruvudaiyar Koyil, also known as ‘Big Temple’, completed its 1,000 years in 2010.
Officials and feudatories Rajendra Chola served as the co-regent and supreme commander of the northern and northwestern dominions during the last years of Rajaraja’ reign.
Religious policy Rajaraja followed Saivism but tolerated other creeds. He also constructed several Vishnu temples.
Tirumurai compilation Raja Raja Chola, with the assistance of Nambi Andar Nambi, a priest, led a mission to recover certain hymns. Nambi discovered the scripts in the Thillai Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram, in the form of cadijam leaves.
Historical novels Ponniyin Selvan by Amarar Kalki

Nandipurathu Nayagi by Vembu Vikiraman

Rajaraja Cholan by Aru. Ramanathan

Kaviri Mainthan by Anusha Venkatesh

Documentary film The Hidden Temples of India: Mysteries of Asia, produced by Learning Channel